This weekend sees the usual fleet of rock stars and weekend warriors mixing it up for the running of the 35th Harken Young 88 national championships, New Zealand's largest national one-design keelboat fleet.
There are currently 17 entries showing online but that could change with the possible addition of two more boats and maybe a cancellation or two driven by Covid-19.
Like usual, the entry list makes for interesting reading with a who's who of America's Cup and New Zealand sailing talent.
Carrington Brady will skipper Slipstream with rock-star dad Gavin playing a leading role.
Nick Gillies’ Waka Huia is being helmed by accomplished dinghy sailor and North Sails One Design manager Derek Scott, while Undercover will be skippered by owner, Akaroa farmer and experienced keelboat sailor Jonny Bell and will feature former Olympic medallist and America's Cup sailor Rod Davis in the lineup.
The Young Guns from Christchurch will be back, once again led by Isaac Armstrong, with the addition of the more mature perspective of Karen Selway, owner of Abracadabra, who finished second at the recent South Island championships. They will be borrowing Babe, with Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron youth training programme graduate Claudia Pearce at the helm.
The race programme and race areas have been updated to allow race officer Celia Carson more flexibility to choose the best location for breeze on the day. This will see the fleet sailing either north or south of Rangitoto or in Emirates Team New Zealand’s back paddock south of Motuihe. The last race of the day will be back to the Westhaven base via harbour marks.
Young 88 class president Mike Leyland said measures had been taken in the interest of minimising risks to sailors and volunteers due to Covid-19.
This includes the cancellation of all onshore/social activities, including the skippers' briefing, Saturday crew party and Sunday prizegiving dinner, as well as a skipper-led review of all crew’s travel history and health.
All on-water activities will continue as planned at this stage. Individual skippers and crew are reminded of the need to take responsibility by following the Ministry of Health guidelines.